Album: Prince

Musicology, Sony/NPG
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The Independent Culture

He's back, back, back! And, well, he hasn't changed a bit. Not one iota. Except that, for this Sony debut, Prince has mercifully managed to restrict his outpourings to a single album, rather than the deluge of repetitive double and triple albums that in effect killed off his appeal. He's still banging on about sex, whether proclaiming marital devotion in "Call My Name", warning a friend about his unfaithful lover in "The Marrying Kind" or playing the predatory wolf in "If Eye Was the Man in Ur Life", making his play for a woman by disparaging "that trifling barracuda" boyfriend who's cheating on her. But it all sounds past its sell-by date - as might be expected of an album whose touchstones are mostly Seventies funk from the likes of James Brown and The Meters. The title track, for instance, is proceeding happily enough in skeletal Meters manner until he adds some horrid riffs on a keyboard whose settings sound unchanged since 1982. But the most disappointing aspect of the album is the witlessness of his "political" pronouncements, especially in "Dear Mr Man", where he opines that there "ain't no sense in voting". Can he really be so dense that he can't tell the difference between the Clinton and Bush programmes, or is he too insulated from their effects?